Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big Adoption Series - Chapter 11

The next year and a half was a whirlwind of diapers. And spit-up.

Our Ruby girl was a spitter and a screamer and it's easy to see now that those two things may well have been connected.

I wish I could say that Two was just an intensified, saturated One, but I knew from our first week home with Princess Pink that this was a whole new ballgame.I was wholly unprepared for the brand-newborness of our girl. My only frame of reference was a five-month-old and, in the grand scheme of things, five months is a lifetime.What struck me most was how much she slept through the day. What struck me second-most was how much she didn't sleep at night.

I rued the first-time mom of a newborn, "sleeping when the baby sleeps". That was one blessed moment that I was clearly not intended to experience. My experience included a seventeen-month old trying desperately to converse with me like an adult. My experience included wringing my hands over the sheer impossibility of coordinating his daily nap with one of Ruby Girl's. Of course, after months of banging my head against the wall (you think I'm being figurative...) her sleep schedule locked into place precisely when he decided that he was too Big for naps.

I know, I know. It's nothing new, this mommy thing. Naps are nothing newsworthy, and though I didn't fully understand it then, it makes all the sense in the world now - Naptime is the Holy Grail of every Mama under the sun. It's a worthy conquest, but all too often, it eludes us.

Over the course of that first year, our baby girl learned to sleep like a champ. She sucked every bottle dry, then spit it right back at us. She endured prods and pokes for this condition of hers and for her oversized noggin. She was vocal and chunky. She was an attention hog and aloof, tickled pink and surly, impatient and placid and all of it was subject to change without warning. She was an emotional, smoochable, made-my-heart-skip-a-beat, beautiful girl.

Just a few weeks after her first birthday we moved to our farm in the country. We packed up our toddlers and introduced them to a dream. It was around that time that things began to settle a bit. The days were crazier than ever, to be sure, but the little people were gaining their sea legs. We were only diapering one bum. We were done with bottles. Before we even noticed it happening, we had carved a groove.

It's funny how just when all the ruffled feathers are smooth again, when the routine is down to a science, that itch comes 'round.

You know the itch.

You don't know the itch?

The itch is what makes a girl who craves peace and quiet and serenity dial up the phone and order more crazy. "I'll take a super-sized order of uncertainty with a side order of chaos, please!"

We were ready to add another one to the brood.

We had talked it all to death, this decision of where Number Three would be found. (Every single time I ask our caseworker to choose for us and every single time, she says no. Apparently there are rules about these things.)

All we knew for sure was that Number Three would be black. And I'm sure some of you are saying right now, "Oooh! That's not politically correct!", but the choices were America or Haiti or Ethiopia, so tell me, how would you summarize?

I have this thing, you see, about balancing the browns of this family. Angelina has it to, or so I hear, so it must be legit. Our thinking was, we eventually wanted to adopt one more Asian child and one more dark-skinned child. I wanted someone for everyone to identify with. It must. be. balanced. A child from Korea would surely be a boy, as couples with both genders already in their families are not able to choose, and boys are more readily available. I would like the girls to share their heritage, as well. I was seeing a second dark-skinned little girl in our future. Sisters who would be close in age.

Over the next months, Haiti became unrealistic due to internal issues within the country. Our case worker asked us if we planned to adopt from Korea again and of course, I told her we were open to it. We were open to most anything.

As these things tend to do, the thought of Korea wormed its way into my head. I began obsessing over additional technicalities of various programs that I will not bore you with here.

One last call with our case worker sealed the deal. There were three different boys in Korea waiting to be placed, for various reasons. These boys were getting older, with every passing day. They were being rejected for reasons that were, by and large, not even related to them. And their increasing age was only aggravating the issue. She told me about all three and we began praying.

Very quickly we knew that one of those boys in particular was meant to be ours. We asked a lot of questions and we embraced the uncertainties that would be packed up and sent along with his little shoes and his hanbok. We had learned with Calvin that even "healthy" babies may not be entirely so, and we knew for sure that adopting from a third-world country, such as Haiti or Ethiopia, would be rife with uncertainty.

All I knew was that we had found our son. Our Number Three. Our Silas.

Long ago, someone said these words to me, "Only God knows what your family picture looks like." Those words are etched in my brain, and I have stepped back and watched, in humility and wonder, as God leads each of our children to our hearts. Now, when people ask that irksome question, "Why didn't you adopt all of your children from the States?" I tell them the truth - Two of our children were in Korea. It's just the way it is. It can't be helped, and why should it be?

Only after the decision had been made did we request photos. I did not know if it would be possible to think clearly after looking into a brand new pair of almond eyes.

Imagine my surprise in seeing that his eyes were not really so "almond" after all. As Calvin says it best, he has almond eyes, Silas has pistachio eyes and Ruby has...coconut eyes.

Little dude had eyes wider than the sky. He looked a bit Hispanic, if I'm being honest.

I loved it.

I love it.

I love that each of our children look so different, that they have cultural genetics that are unique only to them. It turns out that the heritage of Siley's birth father is unknown. It's part of that tangle of uncertainty. We know he is from Southeast Asia, and that's all we know. He is not Korean, though his birth mom is.

I wonder sometimes what that will be like for my boy, to never know for sure where he is from. I can only imagine that it will be difficult, the not knowing. The speculating. But if there is one thing I know for sure, it is that God's grace covers these things. I believe it will be plenty.

I believe my baby Pie, zipped up in footie-jammies and sound asleep in his crib tonight, will come to learn what we are all learning together - God's plan is important. It is special and exciting. It is worth every day in wait, every ride across the sky, every tear and every heartache. It's even worth every loss. His plan is so much bigger than all of us, and I whisper these truths into tiny ears every night.

Thank you for making Silas my son. Thank you for knowing we were just what the other needed. Thank you for every hard road that brought all of us here. Thank you for your Love.


Join me here next Wednesday for Big Adoption Series - Chapter 12

(To catch up on Chapters 1-10, click here and start from the bottom.)